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The Shins - Chutes Too Narrow (Cover Artwork)

The Shins

The Shins: Chutes Too NarrowChutes Too Narrow (2003)
Sub Pop Records

Reviewer Rating: 3.5
User Rating:


Contributed by: maverickScott
(others by this writer | submit your own)

They're from New Mexico, but they sound like they're from the United Kingdom - ladies and gentlemen, welcome the Shins to your collective consciousness. Chutes Too Narrow is the band's most recent work, but it's not their first. They've already gotten a few discs under their belts both as the Sh.
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They're from New Mexico, but they sound like they're from the United Kingdom - ladies and gentlemen, welcome the Shins to your collective consciousness.

Chutes Too Narrow is the band's most recent work, but it's not their first. They've already gotten a few discs under their belts both as the Shins and their previous name, Flake Music, via both Omnibus Records and the monolithic Sub Pop. Their basic sound is that of happy fuzz-pop that transcends decades and scene boundaries. If you've been frequenting any sort of indie music sites in the past few months, chances are all you've heard about are the Shins. They're the new buzz band for the 4th Quarter of Rock, it seems - can the album live up to the hype?

Frankly, no, but the New Mexican quartet, just like Pat Benetar, hits it with their best shot. What isn't on Chutes Too Narrow is a genre-defining record of any kind; this stuff has all been done decades before and currently [pick up any Belle & Sebastian record to hear a more laid back, orchestrated version of any of these songs, or conversely, any Superdrag record to hear a more amped up, cut-and-dry version].

What is on Chutes Too Narrow, however, is a nice half hour or so of catchy, intelligent indie pop that is great to wake up to on a Sunday morning. What really keeps your attention, though, is frontman James Mercer's witty lyrics like "Just a glimpse of an ankle and I / react like it's 1805" from "Turn A Square." You find yourself listening more intently with every subsequent spin, looking for that next gem of a phrase.

Of course, you can just cheat and crack open the liner notes, complete with lyrics. Normally I don't mention liner notes, but the packaging on this disc is so beautiful I'd be chastised for not bringing it up. The seemingly intricately cut liner notes covered in bright, vibrant colors really express the music within quite well.

So is this the band to save rock and roll? Hardly, since they barely rock at all [sans opening track "Kissing The Lipless"]. The Shins are content with their mock-British accents and carefully-structured pop songs. If you come into this expecting any more than that, you'll be disappointed. Otherwise, you'll have a nice indie pop record on your hands - but definitely not one of the best of the year.

MP3
So Says I

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Anonymous (February 18, 2006)

while it doesnt quite live up to their debut (which was a classic), chutes to narrow is still a great record, deserving of much more recognition

Anonymous (July 14, 2004)

Start using the phrase "bollocks in a bap" ("with a fish fanny flap" may be added if you wish) when something bad happens. our friend made it up and we want it to be used worldwide!
MJE England-remember us, one day we will be famous for publicising this phrase!

Anonymous (July 14, 2004)

PENIS!!

Anonymous (July 14, 2004)

I got the shins album after seeing a review in the UK Glamour magazine. I was just curious, and when i first listened to it i found it hard to get into, and a bit boring. but now i cant live without my shins album. It's great! I know all the words to all the songs and the variety of songs is really grand. i REALLY recommend it to anyone - their style is universal. really rather remarkable. Megan (15) south london

ThatotherGuy (January 1, 2004)

BSD, you've ceased to irritate me, I just realized, you're FUCKING 16 !! You don't know shit. Shut up, grow up, and come back later.

THAT GUY

FortyMinutesWest (December 31, 2003)

"Fugazi hasn't released a good record in ages..."

The Argument was good.

Anonymous (December 31, 2003)

"Give me Op Ivy or Common Rider over The Clash. Give me Millencolin or The Bouncing Souls over The Ramones. Give me Good Riddance or The Lawrence Arms over The Sex Pistols."

AHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHZAHAHAHAHH...

Oh jesus... A bunch of modern hacks over the originals? But most of those bands aren't remembered because of their breakthroughs... Their music is fucking great. Tell me a Larry Arms song that's better than anything off "London Calling" or the UK "S/T".

-BSD

Anonymous (December 31, 2003)

Fugazi hasn't released a good record in ages...

ThatotherGuy (December 31, 2003)

I said "STYLE". Not 77 punk. I in fact like a lot of that type of music, be it The Clash, The Damned, The Buzzcocks, or a few others. I'm also a fan of the bands directly after that; TSOL, Bad Religion, Black Flag, etc. What I am not a fan of is the stupid shit the so called fans of such music and the copiers of such music do and say. I personally am content listening to the bands that were influenced by those bands, rather than the bands themselves. Give me Op Ivy or Common Rider over The Clash. Give me Millencolin or The Bouncing Souls over The Ramones. Give me Good Riddance or The Lawrence Arms over The Sex Pistols.

I'm not saying that older music is bad, it's essential to know where you've come from. I personally prefer to live for now, or to look forward to the future.

THAT GUY

KingOfRain (December 30, 2003)

This score is for Fugazi

Anonymous (December 30, 2003)

Someone here is in a panty bunch, and it isn't me, for once. THAT GUY, you obviously know nothing about "77 punk" or it's "scene", because I can assure you that the Casualties are no part of it. The Casualties are pseudo-street punk. They have no visible cred in a genre where street cred is everything... Most punk from 1977 is just really creative rock n roll. The Casualties, the Unseen, etc., while I like some of them, sound nothing like those bands or like they follow the true punk ethos... Compare, say, Chelsea to the Casualties. See the difference? One actually is contributing to music creatively, while the other is just doing a half assed imitation of a band they try to look like (and that isn't Chelsea).

And I was making a joke. I like Fugazi. Their fans are just really arty and irritating.

-BSD

ThatotherGuy (December 30, 2003)

"Up the Punxxx" is some stupid ass shit. I can't stand 77 style punk or the scene that goes along with it. Also BSD, you little immature fuck - I would figure you'd like Minor Threat. Minor Threat leading to Fuagazi. Fugazi leading to being better than MT.

THAT GUY

Anonymous (December 30, 2003)

Since you mentioned it twice in the reveiw, I figured I'd point out that the band is based in Portland, OR now, not New Mexico. Great album, even better than their last one.

Well actually all the members are all orginally from New Mexico, it doesn't matter where they are currently based. I am from New Mexico and I always saw their singer at a lot of punk shows, but I have never actually seen the Shins live. It's cool to see a band from NM make it, the only other New Mexican bands that had any success is The Eyeliners and Scared of Chaka...

Anonymous (December 29, 2003)

bsd, i don't think i'll ever agree with you, but you make me chuckle. snaps, props, kudos, whatever.

-el vaquero

Anonymous (December 28, 2003)

what is "Up the Punxxxxxxxxxxxxx"?

ThatotherGuy (December 28, 2003)

I say, instead of a top 10, we make a top 23 of 2003. Who's whith me ? I'd put Against Me!, The Weakerthans, Rise Against, Strike Anywhere, None More Black, The Explosion, NOFX, and Alkaline Trio to name a few.

THAT GUY

Anonymous (December 27, 2003)

Haha.

-BSD

dignin (December 27, 2003)

yes, yes I do.

Anonymous (December 26, 2003)

Hahaha. Dignin likes Fugazi.

-BSD

dignin (December 26, 2003)

"Take your Top 10 list and insert it analy up your rectum."

if your referring to my comment I never said it was my top ten list. Also, Im supposed to "insert it analy" up my rectum? As opposed to inserting it orally up my rectum? Such an unbelievably stupid thing for you to write.

Anonymous (December 26, 2003)

Take your Top 10 list and insert it analy up your rectum.

dignin (December 25, 2003)

"i have to admit this is kinda a dumb review for this site...and either way this is just a pop album turning som tricks for a buck..why should you care? why should i? i mean lets keep independent music interesting! and resist the MAN! you know...."

Your comment is sridiculus on so many levels I don't even know where to begin. First, what is it that makes the shins money hungry over any other band on this site? There are countless bands covered on this site that I would accuse of money grabbing far before I would accuse the shins. And why should we care about this release? Well, for one people do like, even with its absence of senseless power chord pounding. On top of that this band has brought alot of underground attention to themselves with this and their last realease. It has been, and will continue to be included on critics and fans top ten lists for 2003. Finally, your a dumbass.

Anonymous (December 25, 2003)

Since you mentioned it twice in the reveiw, I figured I'd point out that the band is based in Portland, OR now, not New Mexico. Great album, even better than their last one.

Anonymous (December 25, 2003)

i have to admit this is kinda a dumb review for this site...and either way this is just a pop album turning som tricks for a buck..why should you care? why should i? i mean lets keep independent music interesting! and resist the MAN! you know....

Anonymous (December 25, 2003)

I hate Gays. Stay off this site. Fagboys!

greg6711 (December 25, 2003)

If not for the White Stripes, this would surely be the best cd of the year.

Besides it's ten times as good as any "punk" cd this year, with the possible exception of Rise Against or Strike Anywhere

Anonymous (December 24, 2003)

by

Anonymous (December 24, 2003)

oh people people people...so willing to label and so unwilling to listen.

-this grain of wisdom brought to you but kyle

Anonymous (December 24, 2003)

Not a bad CD, however you would be better off buying the new Weakerthans CD instead, hands down one of the best releases of the year!

Anonymous (December 24, 2003)

hahaha i guess only gay men can make such a dumb fucking review

Anonymous (December 24, 2003)

ok, i finished my top 10 list today. ugh. don't worry kids there are only four or so japanese cd's on it. not that many. right? maybe i'll put it up soon with some writing, maybe i'll just post it as a tag-a-long to scott's list. blech.

-el vaquero
sadly, there is no ska on this list (sorry, smashers/slackers) unless you count the tossers as ska, which my brother dared to do this morning. whee!

Anonymous (December 24, 2003)

ok, i finished my top 10 list today. ugh. don't worry kids there are only four or so japanese cd's on it. not that many. right? maybe i'll put it up soon with some writing, maybe i'll just post it as a tag-a-long to scott's list. blech.

-el vaquero
sadly, there is no ska on this list (sorry, smashers/slackers) unless you count the tossers as ska, which my brother dared to do this morning. whee!

Anonymous (December 24, 2003)

Butter knife! Right this way! Not at all is what they said and then the darkness crept.

GreenVandal (December 24, 2003)

Im gonna have to say poop to this one.

Anonymous (December 24, 2003)

Personally, I think it's an AMAZING album, certainly worthy of being in one's top 10 of 2003. I adored Oh, Inverted World and came into this album expecting something similar. I was disappointed...until about my second listen through, when I decided not to be so close minded. By my fifth listen, I came to this simple conclusion: This album COMPLETELY blows away Oh, Inverted World. The eclecticism is the greatest part of the album, in my opinion. "Turn a Square," "Kissing the Lipless," "Gone for Good," and "Pink Bullets" are all standout tracks that are extremely dissimilar in sound. How this album could disappoint anyone is beyond me. Well, I'm tired and could type more if I wanted to, but I'm tired and don't want to. So I won't. That is all.

sk8punx4evr (December 24, 2003)

i like oh inverted world and i've heard a few songs off of this. i'll probably get it. thanks scott.

Anonymous (December 24, 2003)

These guys are huge.

Anonymous (December 24, 2003)

"Can someone tell me why this isnt being reviewed on an indie website. Gosh, The people on this site are retarded. This is for punk, hardcore, some nerdcore and skacore. Keep your shitty indie rock away. You scallywags. Oiii Up the punxxxxxxxxxxx. If you dont know what Up the Punxxxxxxxxx is then get out of the site and never return. OI!"

remember when that guy said that? that was funny. YOU should get of the site and never return.

Eddie (December 24, 2003)

Arg, I still need this album...

dignin (December 24, 2003)

silly me, I thought scott was in charge of this site, but apparently its now run by the dumbass who commented below.

Anonymous (December 24, 2003)

Can someone tell me why this isnt being reviewed on an indie website. Gosh, The people on this site are retarded. This is for punk, hardcore, some nerdcore and skacore. Keep your shitty indie rock away. You scallywags. Oiii Up the punxxxxxxxxxxx. If you dont know what Up the Punxxxxxxxxx is then get out of the site and never return. OI!

Anonymous (December 23, 2003)

i wondered at first, why you didnt give this record the rave it deserved. then i remembered. you LIKE autopilot off. dick.

maverick (December 23, 2003)

To the person below:

Thanks, dude! I try my best. Feel free to write your own review and submit it.

-Scott

Anonymous (December 23, 2003)

wow, whoever reviewed this record is a moron

Anonymous (December 23, 2003)

good album, but nothing to crap your pants over...sounds a hell of a lot like the new pornographers latest to me...

Anonymous (December 23, 2003)

Oh inverted world was great. I'd love to pick this sucker up

Anonymous (December 23, 2003)

we all live just to die

Anonymous (December 23, 2003)

oi oi oi... i mean ho ho ho.

Anonymous (December 23, 2003)

i dunno scott. belle and sebastian? maybe a couple of their songs, if more laid back, could be belle and sebastian songs. this band is much different. #4 cd of the year for me.

Anonymous (December 23, 2003)

fuck this shit
maddog

i-type-poorly (December 23, 2003)

boy am i sick of people saying "insert band name here will save rock and roll"...

Anonymous (December 23, 2003)

Meh. Some chick I work with told me to check this shit out. I listened to it briefly at the Tower listening station, then immediately decided that the Cars s/t already in my hand was a much better purchase.

Review to come.

-sickboi

boldredletters (December 23, 2003)

good review... their last full length album bored me, but i'm wondering if i should check this one out.

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